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"Co-Parenting, Narcissism, and Emotional Abuse of Children During & After Divorce"

This article first appeared in Deesha's column at The Faster Times:


Emotional abuse of children during and after divorce proceedings is one of the most insidious and common problems we hear about from co-parents who contact us via Emotional abuse is generally more difficult to prove than physical abuse, and family court judges and lawyers who have seen it all know that such charges can be slippery and easily thrown around by divorcing parents, without merit. To some extent, they expect embattled divorcing parents to make damning but ultimately unfounded accusations against each other in an attempt to emerge as the better parent and "win" in the divorce. (This is why children's issues have no place in an arena that by definition seeks to identify a "win" and a "loser." But that's a different rant for a different day.) The result can be that accusations of emotional abuse are minimized, not thoroughly investigated, or dismissed outright.

So when accusations of emotional abuse do have merit, the parent making the charge may face an uphill battle to have his/her concerns about the children's well-being taken seriously.

Narcissists are amongst those who emotionally abuse children during and after divorce. Narcissism is "the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness." While Freud argued that "healthy narcissism" is essential to normal human development, high levels of narcissism are manifested pathologically as narcissistic personality disorder. While co-parents shouldn't invest themselves in trying to diagnose their exes, understanding their personality traits or potential disorders can be useful in learning how to deal with them constructively and in ways that benefit the children.

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Reader Comments (44)

I am co-parenting with a narcissist following divorce. This article so accurately describes the narcissist and stress at dealing with him when you finally thought you were done with him. II will follow the advice!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBethC


I'm glad you found it useful. I wish you and your family the best as you journey under difficult circumstances.

Take care,

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

Thank you for this valuable information. It is extremely draining to be co-parenting with a narcissist. The tips provided will now be used when dealing with my daughter's father. Hopefully, it will bring some peace to a highly charged situation.

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan K

We wish you well, Susan...and much peace and strength! ~Deesha

April 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

thank you for this succinct and accurate article! if people are confused about co-parenting with a narcissist, i'll be pointing them here.

April 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

Thanks, Anonymous! I checked out your blog, and I wish you and your family peace and small victories in the struggle. :-)

Best to you,

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

You're welcome, Susan, and I hope for peace for you and your family as well.


April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

This article was so helpful today. My ex, who I think falls squarely in the narcissist arena, texts, emails, or calls me every day and when I don't respond, increases his demands that I communicate MORE with him for the sake of the kids. When I try to set boundaries by not responding to his rants, name-calling, or manipulations, he sends me articles about co-parenting and how I'd doing a terrible job of it. I just want him to give me some space and breathing room. What can I do? Continue not responding unless it's specifically about the kids? And what if he contacts me several separate times about the kids every day? I need help. It's exhausting...

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer McBride

Hi, Jennifer:

Exhausting, indeed! It sounds like you're doing all you can. Hold fast to your boundaries, even though you probably sound like a broken record, stating when and under what circumstances you'll respond. Even if his frequent texts are about the kids, if it's not an urgent matter, they can sit until you are ready to respond. He may not like this because he can't control it, but you could send him a weekly email in which you respond to the texts, calls, and emails for the week that you deem worthy of a response. It sounds like outwardly you're able to respond, and not react, but inwardly, you're being pummeled. If that's the case, try to find some solace in self-care and in reassurance from loved ones that you're doing the right thing, that you're a great mom, etc. Take comfort in close times with your kids. Your kids see you being positive in the face of negativity, and that matters. You're modeling civility, self-care, and how to deal with conflict; you're teaching them that sometimes you have to disengage. You're teaching them that the only person they can control is themselves, and that they have the power not allow another person's misbehavior lead them into negativity.

Your ex's satisfaction with you does not define you. Rest in the fact that you're being the best co-parent that he's allowing you to be; it's hard, if not impossible, to be open and congenial with someone who calls you names and tries to manipulate you. The responsibility is his to meet you half-way. By staying positive, you're being the bigger person and co-parent.

Best to you,

May 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

This is a good article. And succinct.
I was never married to the father of my child, so there is no divorce, but we are involved in a custody fight. I am afraid of him and his stalking. There is now a detailed evaluation report outlining his behaviors. We are nearing the end of a long fight and reaching a settlement. We just had a conference which left me feeling trapped with this man who seemingly has no soul and absolutely has no moral grounding.
At the moment I am struggling. I don't know whether to keep fighting and find out the truth of his many lies to hopefully start building trust or to sacrifice and abandon my life with my child, the most important part of my life in order to create the disengagement that I need from that man. I have been healing and rebuilding for over a year now after leaving him. After sitting in a conference room with him and lawyers for 2 hours and feeling like I was screaming inside the entire time while keeping myself under control-it is evident to me that I am no more ready to be bound to co-parenting with him even when I will be the custodian with the decision making authority. He wants to weigh in on everything. It is exhausting. I don't trust him. He is a pathological liar, masterfully skilled in duplicitous and manipulative behaviors. And he presents well, especially now under the guise of "caring and invested father". I am so worried about the rest of my life-having him in it-that I shamefully can say that I contemplate running away from him and thus running away from my very very young child who has been in my care for her entire life. That is how insidious he feels to me.
Can I reach a settlement? Going to trial would be even more of a fight. And it is all so costly and consuming. I just want it to be over. The safety of myself and my child has been at the forefront of this case and I just don't see that there is any true resolution. It is so frustrating.

June 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranon

Hi, Anon:

My heart goes out to you. Your pain and frustration in this situation is palpable, from your words. I was confused, however, when you wrote that you'll be the "custodian with the decision-making authority." Are you saying that even with this authority, your ex will still try and manipulate and bully you? You also mentioned that you're afraid of him and his stalking. Combined these sound like very serious issues that a restraining order might better address, than a parenting agreement. I wish I had more comforting advice for you, but based on my limited understanding, this is what comes to mind first.

Peace to you and your child. People like your ex count on their targets to simply be worn down to the point of acquiescence. I hope that you are able to maintain your active presence in her life, despite these horrible circumstances. When you are in the midst of something, it can be impossible to see the proverbial light at the end of tunnel. But once you have reached a settlement, and you're not subjected to being in his presence on a regular basis, you may be able to feel some relief. This is my hope for you.


June 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

My ex (an undiagnosed narc) hates it when all communication is brief and business-like. He says that all feminists say to do that to get rid of the ex but I know better than that, and that I can be amicable because we share our kids and his psychologist has told him that it is best for the kids if we communicate amicably. So he smears me to everyone that I try to be brief and refuse to engage with him. People see me as the vengeful one.

How do you maintain firm boundaries when you have kids? Everytime you do, you suffer for it - child support decreases, kids get bullied, kids get groomed to bully you, friends start to mob you, etc. The latest boundary was telling him that I was not sending the kids anymore if he kept changing things without telling me. So he says that now he will just come and get them because he has a right to, and that I have no right to control and dominate. Notice the language? Yes, all the counseling. Great help, huh?

June 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLily


What a draining (to say the least) situation. Is he the only one in counseling, or has family counseling been available and of any help to your kids?

I wish I could offer some solid advice, but it sounds like you're doing all you can given the circumstances. Are there any supportive friends/family who understand what you're up against? I know you don't want to do what he's doing, i.e., badmouthing, and maybe you've been reluctant to reach out to people you know, or to a divorce recovery group, but I wonder if you would find some consolation in finding a sympathetic ear, face-to-face?


June 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

I am not divorced (he is playing that card very hard on church friends, who don't believe in divorce), so I don't belong to any divorce recovery group. But I do have some supportive friends, but he tries to sabotage all my friendships by getting into their ear. I have some domestic violence survivor friends but I guess they are also traumatized by their own situations.

My children don't get counseling - he won't allow me to take them to therapists he doesn't approve of. The older ones don't really want to go anyway.

It is sad the children have to be exploited. I refuse to play the game with them, even though they always try to suck me in by repeating what their father says to them. He tells them that I don't consider their needs, because if I did, I would be more accepting of their Dad and co-parent amicably. As if there is such a thing, with narcissists!

Right now, I have to think about what I'll do when he just shows up to grab the kids. I am supposed to go out on the day he is threatening to come because I have a commitment and I can't take the kids, but I can't leave them home with the older one either, because I don't want their father forcing them to go.

Thanks for your support.

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLily

Lily, it sounds like you're trying to draw important boundaries, despite the threat and pressure placed on the kids. I hope that as your kids are older, they will be in a better position to understand what you've tried to do in the face of such difficulty.

Best to your family...and again, peace,

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

Thank you for this article. My stbx and my oldest are both narcissists. My oldest is beginning to become abusive when I don't give him his way. My youngest has ASD, and I fear I will be tied to my monster ex forever through custody/guardianship issues of that. Sometimes I feel like my life is over because my family is so unrecoverably shot to hell. All I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother, and this is my lot. I'm just beside myself sometimes. But I hang in for the younger one, especially, because he is so sweet. I can't leave him. The other two don't want me, except for what I can do for them/pay them in support. Your piece at least made me feel validated that I didn't do all this myself. Thank you for that.

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJust me

Divorce from a narcissist is like getting fired by a horrible boss - and having your former boss continue to criticize and hound you! I blocked my x from my email and will ONLY discuss scheduling issues with him as related to the kids over the phone. As soon as he starts criticizing me or dredging something up from the past, I tell him that if we are through discussing the kids, then I am finished talking to him, have a nice evening, and hang up. Not quite sure why he thinks he can still tell me what to do, or insult me when I cannot accommodate a schedule change!

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGotFired

This is so interesting. While I don't like "labeling" someone, I do think that my ex has a lot of these traits. But is it narcissim? We've been divorced for 6 months, separated for a few years. He always takes the stance that he he has no control or responsibility in events - yet he gets what he wants and I feel like a doormat. "She wanted to stay up until 11pm" well, SHE is 7 years old - be a parent.
He just annouced yesterday during the "handoff" that our child had "changed her mind" and wanted to go with him to an out of state college football game this weekend. It is my weekend and we'd discussed this prior...she said she didn't want to go and he was fine with that and I thought the issue was resolved. Then he just announces it to me with no regard to my plans. Then I say, "well I thought this was resolved and she didn't want to go" he says "why do you have plans?"
Like I have to justify my "plans" with her to see if they're worthwhile? It is my weekend and I would be rearranging my schedule to accomodate this trip for him.
Mostly we co-parent really well... but I'm just recognizing that I take on all of the parenting and try to keep the peace for her sake. What I don't want is for her to start trying to keep the peace with him too. Then she'll just take that into her dating life and UGHGHGHGHG!
In the meantime, I end up feeling used. Thoughts?

October 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

My sister divorced narcissist a year ago, but he still makes her miserable via their six-year-old. I refer to the adult male as "bio-dad," because that's all he ever has been: the biological father. Bio-dad never developed a bond with his son, but of course now he expects his son to love him and respect him and follow his orders. Bio-dad took my sister to court this past summer for not allowing his visitation with his son (UNBELIEVABLE that this could happen); however, the situation was that his SON, when told he'd be going with his father, would have a complete meltdown: tremble, scream "no no", and then hide. I couldn't believe bio-dad could tell so many lies in court, but in the end, my sister wasn't found in contempt of court, thank goodness. One time my nephew chased bio-dad away from my sister's house with a hammer! My sister has done SO much to try to foster this relationship, and now my nephew goes with bio-dad every other weekend because he knows he doesn't have a choice (a few months ago, bio-dad suddenly moved 180 miles away, saying it "was in the best interests of his son" to get him physically away from his mother for visitation--also conveniently located near his now girlfriend/wife...they wear wedding rings but say they're not married). Bio-dad constantly texts and emails my sister, poking her buttons to get reactions, shouting "I need answers!," changing plans, butting in, and overall continuing to act like a total bully. I grieve for my sister and my nephew, as I watch this continue to unfold. There seems to be no one to help or protect her and her son, from lawyers, to therapists, to law enforcement officers. Her ineffective lawyer told her yesterday that there was no more he could do to stop the continuing emotional abuse. Bio-dad cannot bear to lose control over my sister, and he uses his son as a vehicle and a weapon. It's exhausting, and I'm not in even in the middle! I'm my sister's support, and I just can't believe this can go on and on (I realize that I'm co-dependent, and I'm working on it). I'm so SCARED that somehow bio-dad will get custody of this darling little boy, not because he wants to be a good father, but because he wants to hurt my sister. It will never end. Thank you anyone who has listened to me go on; it does feel good to express my thoughts (without weighing down my sister further) and share with people who "get" this incomprehensible situation. Thank you for this site.

October 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Aunt

After being divorced for over 3 years now, your article does help. In my situation, my daughter just turned 9 and has already been diagnosed by a pediatrician and a therapist as having stress and depression. She was also given a series of tests by an evaluator and again diagnosed as having stress and depression. Her father and I are co-parenting by court order, because I agreed to joint custody at the time of divorce. I am planning on fighting for sole now.

I want to share to many others that are reading. If you truly believe that the other parent isn't doing a good job as a parent (Narcissism) the best thing to do is to get you and your child in therapy. Typically a therapist can help establish where the issues really are and find resolutions to them. Sometimes the non-narcissism parent can do things to improve the situation. Going to therapy doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you or your child, it just means your asking a someone who has studied these types of behaviors to help you. If your like me and you have done this and the other parent won't participate in therapy, then you now have a way to break their manipulation. Every time my X tells me I am a bad parent or bad mouths me, I simply reply "come to therapy and prove that your right". I have offered for him to go to his own, go to my child's, go with me, and I even offered to pay for it. I am showing him that I truly no longer believe his magical thinking and that if he believed it he should want to prove it to me. Either way, I know that I have done everything I can to co-parent with him and that's all I can do.

Thanks again for this site.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngel

Thank you! Great tips!

October 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLee

I divorced my crazy narcissist almost 2 years ago. He was diagnosed as a narcissist by a marriage counselor who was also a psychologist.
We are co-parenting, or rather he is taking them because doing so puts a hold on me somehow. He neglects them, smokes in front of them even though our son has asthma.

He remarried immediately after our divorce....8 months later he was divorced again. The new wife called me and told me how abusive he is. With her he stepped it up a notch...not only did he scream and yell and name call, he was physically abusive.

Now that he no longer has her to abuse, he is back on to me. My children have missed out on swimming lessons, T-ball and scouting. Because they all were on the same dates that he had them. I have begged, pleaded with him to take them..... and he continues to send me nasty emails ranting about things he believed I did, telling me what a horrible mother I am and the worst.....telling my son that the reason he wasn't going to scouting was because I couldn't be adult enough to do an exchange. When in reality, I agreed to things I didn't want like exchange at other places besides the exchange center we go through.

He has posted my name on the maiden and married with my hometown and wrote terrible lies stating that I was abusive, emotionally and physically, that I made a minimal amount of money and that I neglected the children and lived off of child support.

He used the court system so that he would get to see what my income tax is every year so that he can decide if he wants to claim both children...then he is suppposed to pay me what I would have gotten. You have probably already figured out how that went. He didn't pay me what was owed.

I cannot stand by and watch my children grow up without a childhood because of him. I am going to take him to court for contempt.

Has anyone else done this? What are the things I should know? I am scared to just come out and tell the judge that he was diagnosed as a narcissist because I am afraid he will think I am just a vindictive X wife.

October 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda

Miranda, we posted your question on the site in hopes of getting feedback from others who might have been in similar situation. We'll comment as well.

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

You're welcome, Lee!

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

You're welcome, Angel. And thank you for sharing your story and your words of advice to those who are struggling.


October 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

You're welcome, Aunt. I'm glad your sister and nephew have you as a support. Sometimes we hear from co-parents that they feel isolated and alone because no one around them understands that going to court doesn't always solve the problem, or the difficult ex manages to charm all their relatives and mutual friends, leaving the worn-out parent to look like s/he's making a mountain out of a molehill. I also hope you can continue to stay connected w/your sister and nephew in such a way that doesn't keep you co-dependent.


October 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

Hi, Patti:

Your concern that your daughter will transfer being accommodating to her dad into her dating life is not uncommon. Co-parents often worry about the influence of the other parent on their children's development and future partnerships. In addition to maintaining boundaries (i.e., not rearranging your schedule during your parenting time on your ex's whim) and accepting that you cannot control what happens during his parenting time (unless your child is in danger), remember that your being a role model for your child works both ways. During your parenting time and in your interactions with her dad, model what you want her to do: set boundaries, be healthy (e.g., having an age-appropriate bedtime) and learn how to keep the peace and manage conflict instead of being a doormat. I'm glad you are able to co-parent well most of the time. Maybe a family counselor can give you some practical strategies for the rest of the times when you need to hold fast to your boundaries.


October 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

Great strategy, GotFired! And great analogy too. :-)

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

You're welcome, Just me!!! Hang in there...


October 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

I am thinking of staying in a difficult marriage becuase I believe my husband to be a narcissist. He has every tell tail sign.I am afraid to leave a we have two small children and I feel divorcing him would leave my 3 and 4 year old open to his Narcissistic behaivor when they're with him alone. Is this a bad idea?

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Thank you for this blog. You have described my experience. I am currently trying to figure out how to parent my children to offset the damage my ex-husband is doing. My 17-year-old is a pleaser and my 13-year-old is confused. I just keep trying to be the safe place, but I allow my anxiety drift in. I am tired of it all, but want to manage this in the best way for my kids' sake. Please read my blog and let me know what you think.

November 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Cole

I took my 6 and 4 year old children while my husband went to his rehab meeting. We left with very little. My parent's and I had to orchestraight the leave. It was the best acting I've ever done. I managed to work at his mom's school, and w/ him all day. Do my art class the 1st of that year, work all morning, BS w/ mom-in-law. while all day I threw away anything he may use against me. After my last class myhusband said my mom wants to know if Lilly can play w/ her cousin? I pulled that whole day off and then I said no I want her to be w/ her younger brother and I. I had a panick look I'm sure but made a big dinner he left. gave him a kiss at 5:30pm. immediatly after he left I told the kids to get their favorite toys and/or somethings they needed. My parents were waiting at the mall near my house. I called when he left trash bags of whatever and dog and 2 freaked out kids myself too.

I had to leave that way or he would not leave, or not be abusive and take the kids from me to his even more narssistic mother! I was in Hell. When I left I learned from my daughter how long they have bashed me. I feel so stupid, I thought he love me.

10 days exactly later he came to my families home for lunch, to see the kids, figure where to go from here with the split, and be adult about it. I had a gut feeling when he came it would be the furry. He could not get any of his friends to come with him, then his good ole dad.

When I was upstairs I heard the door slam. I ran downstairs, immediately saw him in the driveway both kids with his arms holding on to them. He said and put an image in my brain that I won't ever forget. As he held them, "they are mine!," I pried my daughter free, I could not get my baby boy. I hung on my father was in the front seat fighting his father to stop the car. The car started moving and then I was pushed. I hung on to the door, and tried to get back in the car. Lee said, "floor it," to his dad. That's when I slowly slid down the door. My body was dragged 300 ft. while I slid on the pavement I thought in my head that it's just water your on, hang on. I couldn't anymore, the car just missed running over me. In that short time of falling, I was back in the car, my boy held down by his father's foot to the floor board. My ex was punching my dad in his ribbs my ex's dad still trying to go. Then I had an officer pull me off of my ex. The cop had to put a gun to his dad's head to stop the car. When the cop cuffed me telling me I'm ok your not arrested, I saw his mother driving down the block intersection. He was arrested and put in jail. $4,000 bail and charged w/ a feloney and misdemeanor domestic violence to the highest degree. He was also just a week before convicted of DUI.

Now a year later He has my children, my children stay with him and his mother who believes she's entitled to them. My kids have told me that she says she's their new mother now, I'm just the week end mom. Their father uses my oldest little girl to lie for him. If she is bad and spies for him while she's with me she'll get a big toy or surprise!

All those big promises(Tree house, a cruise, Disney World) never came or will come true.-----[At least new year 2011 I did take with my parent's to Disney world, saw the count down in fireworks with th castle lite in the back groung. We were on the beach at a 4 star place. Best time ever. When clock stroke mid-night we hugged and kissed. Never forget it.]---- I wished for the exact opposite of what we got Not long after my daughter said she needed to take a memo?

He has bought them any toy every dinosuar, dogs, tv's. I have to be supervised during visitation. I have done nothing wrong, they have convinced and/or paid the GAL and counselor to keep me from my children. I'm writting this tonight and tomorrow I will get to exchange gifts and have a "Christmas," with my kids. I am fighting for them. I see my oldest girl and her brother, she has betrayed me and will say anything for her father. My son remains emotionally attached to me he knows they are evil. He just goes with it for self preservation and I don't push him if he can't speak. I know they are watching him. The little time he and I spend is joy. By Sunday they go back. I probably won't see them for another 3 weeks or however many lies my little princess will tell the counselor to keep them from me. Our last day(Sunday) will be hell because of my daughter. She is so mean to her brother. She makes the count down and acts out starts the role of her father. My son and I have no peace. They will go back that day at 5pm. During each hour before they go I try to hold on and stop the clock.

Fri.@6pm to Sun@5pm my time of supervised visitation.

I started writting b/c I saw a mother post what should she do to leave her husband with 2 children and frankly I don't know what can be done. It's hell, he has such a past documented drug and gambling addiction and I have not had a speeding ticket since I was 15. I

I'm 35 clean record always have done right and it still isn't enough. I face starting over alone from scratch like the 20 year old from my parents again. Words can't express the heavy I feel. I wish I fled the country, just dissappeared. Now I have bits and peices of the two I brought into the world. "they aren't MINE" they say, to me. I'm just the surrogate. I hope the truth, and reality will spark, but I think they have their hold on some one b/c this is insanity. Where is the justice, the humanity, the cruelty to my babies minds. I can only imagine the S@#$ they say about me. The kids don't know what real and not, do they?

I'm sorry This article explains it and it also troubles my future. I am missing them grow up. Now they ar 7 and 5 I think of them and work to get them out by learning all law codes anything and they just have the system on their side. They don't really care about them, they don't realize the pain they place on them. And kill their mental future.

My ex-husband, would get so drugged up he would fight to keep his head up so he could roll a joint. I filmed him doing this. I took picture's of him past out on his pills. This behavior came to the surface 3 months before I left. I'm not perfect but not his speed. He hid this relapse for 2 years from me going out every night while we slept. I saw the end relapse, I did not know the length. I asked him why do you do this to yourself you just waist a lot of money to black out. He said it was to fill the void.

Well his parent's divorced and then got back together for something other than love. His mother has the worst neopoleon narssistic personality thinking she is God at her daycare/school. My husband could not hold anyother job except with her for his entire life. We were controlled by her, my ex sucked in so far, he became the ballerina boy since she didn't have a girl. He was a montessori teacher at the school. She has said for years she was going to pass it on to him. His void to fill is the whole she put in him.

I pray God will shine a light on this dark justice system that allowes kids to be exploited.

I feel for all of you who have this plight in life. If I had just stepped back from their world earlier I would have seen it. 10 years lost and it looks like more. I wish no soul like this lives among us. It's too much.

January 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmyanda

Again, short version of a very, very, well I need to write a book about it. What I wote was a 250 pg. quick summary of live as I know it.

I suggest to the young mother with 2 small children, get a career or realistically some part-time work, that has promise to become one. That's your window to look through, then a door to open to get out!

That is something in looking back 20/20, I would have done, then my more idealistic life, may have had a better chance. You'll be pro-active more confident, ready for a clean slate. Don't think you can't, it's what you need to do, don't listen to those voices.

I don't want to end negetive, I hope some one will benefit from my woulda, coulda, shoulda, done it wisdom.

January 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmyanda

I'd like to say that I found this information very informative but nonetheless will not help me in court. I know that every comment left here is from a woman speaking of an ex husband but I am speaking of my ex wife. She fits the character traits of narcissistic behaivior and exhibits every sign and symptom of Boarderline Personality Disorder. Yet she continues to get away with and manipulate the court system and Judges (we are on our third judge in a year) to her benefit. The only "win" I've had in court is proving that I was not abusive and got a temporary restraining order revoked. Once an accusation is made, a Domestic Violence case is underway and restraining orders are put into place without proof needed. The burden of proof is on the restrained. My wife continues to file ex-parte motions to take full custody and contol, all the while brainwashing our children into believing she is superior to anyone else in the world and the better parent that would do anything for our kids. She has called law enforcement time and time again. She has an extensive history of domestic violence and police reports to prove it yet the court does not care. She has gotten everything she's asked for and refuses to work and help provide for our children, She asks them to lie for her and to me. It's never ending. How can I convince the court that she has this condition? I'm certain she is manipulating enough to lie her way through a court ordered psychological evaluation.

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Hi, Jason:

You're right that your observations of your ex's mental state may not sway a court to intervene on your children's behalf. I'm sorry that your situation has gone down the path it has toward what is, or may become, alienation. It sounds like you've done everything in the book to protect your kids. Has the court seen fit to order counseling for them, even though your ex may be unwilling to be evaluated herself?


February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

Wow! Not sure what else to say. When going through this, I felt so all alone. My mouth dropped open when reading this. Everything I went through and am still going through is all normal for a narcissist. Other people act like he did and how he is acting now. I never knew. Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

Jason, I am in agreement with you that there are far more mothers like this than fathers. My bf's ex wife of 3 years did and still does this to the kids. Same scenario. False allegations, alienating the kids, restraining orders, sends 18-32 text a day telling him what he is to do and pay for. ANd his lawyer says there isnt a thing he can do, and the courts do NOTHING but continue to let her file motion after motion...........I feel for ya.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKrissy

These articles are so helpful. I am looking for articles to help when you are co parenting with a narcissist and the kids have been totally buying into it for years. He doesn't speak badly of me, I think, but is always the disney dad, no boundaries, takes them to spend the night to his annual new girl friend's house. Dates my friends/kid's friend's mother and they buy his charm and lies as well. My kids think he can do no wrong, even though he doesn't pay child support. I don't want to speak badly of him (or nicely), so they buy his charm and think he is superman - and he lied and cheated on me with several women. If I try to tell them that he is wrong in some way, they defend him forever. Not sure how to deal with the psychology of this. Arrrgh! Any ideas?

April 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbby

Except for Lee. All I saw were women responses. I guess it proves a paradigm in society. Men never ask for directions.. LOL

I have 3 wonderful girls. Who I want to raise to be the visions of themselves. I want to help them,and to be by their side. If possible make sure they have what they need no matter the sacrifice. Let me introduce my self I am just Brian. Father of Emily, Megan, and Mary Kathryn.

Let me start with a skill in dealing with a Narcissistic Ex that has helped me. I see the look, or I hear the tone, or I read the E mail or Text, and I then listen. I had to develop a filter. This filter is real important for US, who deal with it. The filter is shaped like a cone. The first part is what the words you hear need to go through. "What would a normal person say, or do".

Its OK to listen to that voice and not hear the sucking sound of I have to think about what? Do you mean I am crazy! It may seem simple. But not reacting is huge. It exhibits what they do not have.

I as a dad, can tell you tails of horrific experiences my girls have gone through with their mom. I can honestly tell you, humbly that I have worked to be there. Pick up remains, and daily build what was broken back.

But.... with all I know, All I feel, All I hurt for those girls. How can a dad really replace a mom. I had one,

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

My kids have been bribed against me for more toy's. The last, "visitation," I had, his mother in-law told my son that if he was "good?" he could go to the dragon store? My son was so pumped up he was counting the 46 1/2 hours we had together.

My situation is impossible, the GAL doesn't intervine, instead when the father and I had our last session with our psychologist for "co-parenting," I was blamed for the "possibility" of telling my children that I thought his mother was cutting me out of their life. If this "possibility" were maybe true, they will make my going on 20 month supervision longer.

I don't know what to do. My children are so distanced from me now, it's as though I am not their mother any longer.

There is this huge Elephant in the room and the couselor, psych, GAL, all side with hearsay from my ex. They could not keep the obvious bribery at bay just recently, so the lamp is on me for hurting their psychy of the mother in-law's role in their life. This woman is evil. My son and I were like two pea's in a pod and now he could care less. My daughter acts like she know's how badly they are treating me at her dad's but when I speak to her on the phone I am the outsider on the inside family joke in our conversations.

I am getting my life back together to be able to provide for my children. in order to get back on my feet, I'm at square 1 frome being a stay at home mom (farther now). He is an adddict of many sorts and he has so many family and friends that help him hide it. He works for his mother at a school. I have given the court rehab documents, jail records, and a hand written confession of his gambling problem.

Is there anything that can be done? It is so one sided and corrupt, how can he get away with this and why does every authority figure act blindly about him. I haven't had a speeding ticket since I was 16, and no other record what so ever. I am an honest and good mother. I love my children more than anything in the world. I'm missing my babies grow up. I'm a little afraid to post this for fear I will get punished more.

My children aren't being educated! My 5 year old doesn't know the alphabet but if I attempt to quiz him or speak about any educational issue with either of my children, or to any one, the GAL will take the kids supervisor away and I will have to pay for the next one. The GAL even told me I could not video tape my children when we spend time together? If I had not taken picture's of our visitation then some of our past visitational lies would have had the kids out of my life! What country am I in?

My lawyer is held back by the GAL, I'm told. The judge say's he will side with the GAL, because she knows "What are in the best interest of the children." This woman is the top in our city for the children's law office's. She doesn't see my kids at all, maybe an hour total for this entire custody battle.

Any suggestions, I don't understand how this can continue, I am pushing my way through this to make things right, if I can. Some one has to be able to bring these money hungry people down. They are abusive to me and ultimatelly my children. They are suffering most with all of this brainwashing, they won't be able to attend school at their age level when and if this comes out.

aahh... help

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmyanda

Mother's Day

I pick up my children at 9am, I'm so happy that I get to be with my kids for the weekend of Mother's Day. All Saturday we went to the river, swam, ate lunch and played. By 4pm we were all exhuasted and came home half asleep.

By 6pm I made a big supper with my children's favorite foods and had a great dinner.

Then at or around 8ish the kids and I wrestled and I was the claw making them laugh histerically, by getting that little spot under the chin and they just roll on the floor. Then they got Mommy at my neck, we all have the same tickle spot that paralizes us in luaghter.
They both began to get rough and out of control One grabbing at my neck and the other all of the sudden jumped in the air and landed on me. He body slammed me with his knee's in my stomach. I jumped up, told them to sit down and explain why they would hurt me like that.

My son knew he was hurting me, and when I asked him why he shrugged his shoulder's looking down just saying, "I don't know why.., I didn't mean to do that.., I'm sorry mommy I do love you." When I asked again why did you hurt me like that? Didn't you realize that jumping in the air and landing on me with your knee's would hurt me? He said yes, I don't know why I did it.
I asked where do the two of you get the idea to treat Mommy so badly? Why do you think that it is Ok?
Then my son dropped his head looking to the floor as he said he doesn't know why. In that same moment the scariest little smurk of an evil smile quickly ran over his lips, as though I would not notice.

My daughter has been behaving in this manner worse and worse and my son who I thought had not been turned against me since, we were the closest to each other all through out his life. It has been a full year now that I see my kids maybe every other weekend with a supervisor and the kids have turned into people I do not know. When I and the supervisor spoke to the children about their behavior towards me they had generic excuses, I just don't know, I can't remember. I asked them to let me be a part of their lives. I don't know the two of you any more, why won't you include me in your life. I am your mother. When ever I was most upset I would cry for my mommy, the two of you won't even have a real conversation. I have no idea about how and where they spend their time each day.

My daughter has spoke about a problem with one of her classmates, this was a little bit more like a mother and child talk. However, when the children went back to their Dad's I was told that I told my duaghter that she had an awful friend and shouldn't trust her, and so on... I also was told that I said I didn't like her mother and that she should just stay away from her.(I have never met or have a clue of what her friends mother's name is or what she looks like)

This was conveyed to the mother of that child through my ex's mom, spoken as she could not believe any adult would say such a thing to a child. Then I am told I speak to my children in an un-fit manner, and I need to choose my words wisely. This parent of my childs friend is a student at my mother-in-laws school. Both my kid's go to her sutto school, and both are two years behing their age in education, but I can't say anything about that, said GAL.

I still ask why the kids won't let me in? Don't you want Mommy's hugs and kisses? Do you want to see your Mommy? The two of you know I would and have put my life at risk at all cost for you. My son kind of was upset, my daughter was openly crying, as she knows what ever is going on and won't tell. They both show little remorse of affection for me now.

Today they took me to lunch hung out and they were ok acting. We tried to move on and have a good day and not think about the night before. Then about two hours before they had to go, I had to tell them that I would not get to see them for 6 weeks because I would not be able to have a supervisor. Neither reacted happy, sad, they just said Oh, I'm going to miss you. Then started laughing and playing, we played chess, then soon it got closer and closer to leave and I got uncomfortable hugs from my children. The were not real or had emotion, they hugged me lazily and monotoned, we are going to miss you. I do love you, I miss you so much. Seconds later happily they run to the car to go to leave me. My son gave me no hug before he went off with his Dad, he just said bye without looking at me. My daughter did come back to hug me again. As I hugged her I looked to the ground to tell her to pick soomething up. I kept my head down and turned my back to their dad so no one would see how bad I was crying.

Seeing my children has become a way of abuse now from the abuse I delt with their father in our home mentally. I sit here alone now and wonder why I put myself through this weekend torcher from my ex, my kids, spending so much money to go back and forth and make arrangement with 2 jobs?

I love my children, this is a dark day and a Mother's Day I won't soon forget.

May 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmyanda

After having divorced a narcissist seven years ago, and an advocate of SafeSpace, more needs to be addressed with regards to having to deal with a narcissist POST DIVORCE. For example, the continued abuse of the children to get even with the ex-spouse: emotional abuse of children, and the endless court battles for lack of child support. We need to learn the rights of the children in the various states so that the surviving spouses can help their children. Victims need to feel empowered to change the laws regarding emotional abuse. Can anyone help?

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Krumbholz

Hi, Karen:

I found these resources recently that you might find to be of help:


August 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

The latest email I received from my narcissist ex was to "document my poor parenting skills" because my kindergartener snuck a hot wheels car to school and "surely I know that is against the rules" I just ignore him. With the help of a great therapist I am learning that this is his anger and his issues and they really have nothing to do with me. I can't lie, it still hurts because I know what he says to my child when he is at his dads house. My son and I are very close and he tells me everything. That is part of the problem. He is very jealous, but really, it is his own fault as he never tried to foster a relationship with our son from birth. Breathe.....just breathe. I am ready to take on this custody battle! His latest escapde is denying my son his ADHD medication and trying to say its just a band aid. He's trying to blame me because I take medication for depression (my whole adult life) I want to hate him, but I can't. I just feel sorry for him because instead of trying to have a fabulous time with his son, he persecutes me. That must be exhausting for him to think about his ex wife all the time.....

April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFroggin

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